Echo Quilt Progress, Heart Pillows for Mastectomy Patients, Final Weeks of Trimester 3

Before I begin my report on my progress, I have to extend a big “mahalo” or thank you to my husband for getting me a new sewing machine. He bought it for me a few weeks ago, but I never got a chance to thank him on my blog. Thank you sweetie!

Buying a new machine was completely his idea. In fact, I think it was meant more for him. =) Here it is…a Brother SE-400.

It’s a much quieter machine than my Singer, and it has all of the fun stuff to make sewing more efficient (automatic threader, thread cutter, drop in bobbin). I was ok with my old Singer machine, but my husband thought it would be a good idea to get a sewing machine that also did some embroidery. I have yet to try the embroidery functions (he’s already tried it out and loves it!), but what I love is that this machine allows me to do free motion quilting! This leads to the next topic…

Echo Quilt Progress

I’ve been making slow progress on my Echo print quilt, but I finally took some time yesterday to piece the backing together, add the batting, and run it through my machine using my new quilting foot (yay!). Here’s what I have so far:

This was the first “large” quilt that I have ever put together, measuring about 76″x76″. Since January, I’ve made two small baby quilts (patchwork and a rag quilt), each at about 36″x36″, a super easy “quilt as you go” quilt for my son, and a yellow/black quilt that he uses when he takes a nap in the afternoon.

One thing different about this quilt from the others that I’ve completed is that I used a free motion quilting foot for the first time and attempted to “stipple” this quilt. Each quilt that I’ve made so far have been all “stitch in the ditch” quilts. If you’re like me, and completely new to free motion quilting, my advice to you is to practice, practice, and practice…and also to learn the different quilting functions on your machine. I practiced a lot using leftover scraps of batting and broadcloth, but my biggest mistake was not knowing which quilting functions worked best for the stitching that I was aiming for.

I had completed the outside (white) border with what I thought was the stippling stitch, when the “light bulb” went off in my head, prompting me to try a different stitch. I think you can see the stitching in the next photo which shows the back of the quilt.

There were a great many number of errors, but the optimistic side of me believes that this was a great learning experience! I thought of giving this quilt to my parents or to my brother and his family, but I’ve gotten so attached to it that I might keep it for myself. I know…pretty selfish, but it’s just that this was the first “big” quilt that I put together. Besides, I had so many mistakes on it…maybe it’s best to keep it for myself for now. =) I promise to post pictures of the completed quilt with the binding. I hope to get that done in the next few days!

Heart Pillows (For Mastectomy Patients)

I had some other projects that I had been working on since my last blog, but I think the most important ones were the pillows that I made for someone dear to me who will be undergoing a mastectomy in a few days. I’ll blog more about my thoughts on breast cancer and how it has affected my family and circle of friends in an upcoming blog post, but I did want to share what these pillows looked like and how they bring comfort to patients who have undergone a mastectomy.

My mother had a mastectomy in 1999, and during her recovery, she received a small, rectangular shaped pillow from the volunteers at the American Cancer Society (ACS). She was encouraged to use the pillow under her arm so that it could relieve any pressure on the stitches from the surgery. Recovering from a mastectomy can be a very painful experience. From what I understand from my mother, the pillow made a difference in helping ease her pain and making her recovery a little more comfortable.

I think it’s so wonderful that there are volunteers at ACS who took the time to create these pillows for patients recovering from a mastectomy or a lumpectomy. When I found out that a “special” person in my life would be undergoing a mastectomy, I decided to create a pillow that would help ease some of her pain.

I searched the web to find a unique pillow pattern and came across a website called Heart Pillow Project. The instructions are simple and so easy, and the stories shared on the website are wonderful. I’m inspired to make more of these for other patients!

One variation that I made with these pillows is that I added ribbons at the top and tied them together so that the pillow would hang on the patient’s shoulder. I also added a little tag that reads “Made with Love”, just to give it a personal touch.

If you’d like to join me in making these pillows and giving them away to patients or to your local hospital or American Cancer Society office, let me know by sending me a comment or an e-mail. Also, post pictures of your completed work on my Flickr group, Heart Pillow Project 808.

I think this is a great way to make a difference in someone’s life. It lets a patient know that they’re not alone in their recovery, and that someone is thinking of them.

Final Weeks of Trimester 3

I’m about to enter the last stretch of my pregnancy (38 1/2 weeks and counting) and about to “go” any day now! This last phase of pregnancy involves a lot more back aches and difficulty getting up from bed or from a chair. Argh….But I’m so excited to be able to meet my little girl! She’s been very active in these past few weeks, sometimes putting on a show for her dad, her grandparents and for her cousins. My nieces and nephew think it’s so weird when my belly jumps and rolls. Trey’s also been a little more aware of the things that will belong to his little sister and pointing them out to us; her car seat, clothes, diapers, the crib that once belonged to him…=) What’s helped is this book called “The Baby Sister” by Tomie DePaola.

Tomie is one of my favorite children’s book authors, and he’s starting to become one of Trey’s favorite authors as well! Every night, before going to bed, Trey will ask me to read this story to him. After reading the story, I’ll put his hand on my tummy, and we’ll talk about him having a baby sister. It’s been a great way to get him ready for bed and for the big change coming up in our lives!

That’s it for now! Maternity leave starts this week, and I’ll be using this time to get odds and ends squared away and to get some rest. Yay!

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